There are some comic book movies you can watch multiple times without them ever becoming tedious or boring. Films like The Dark Knight, The Avengers, Iron Man and Man of Steel, are enjoyable on so many levels that a fan shouldn’t hesitate to watch them over and over. Conversely, there are those films in many comic book movie libraries which exist but that, for various reasons, watching them more than once really serves no purpose. Those are the films we’re discussing today.
Several factors can make a film only worth watching once: bad acting/writing/directing/effects, no continuity with other films in its universe, and a severe departure from the source material – just to name a few. So before you power up the Blu-ray player to watch that comic book-inspired movie, read our list below to see if it’s a Superhero Films You Don’t Need to Watch Twice.
For the most part, the first Punisher film (technically the second) stayed fairly true to the roots of main character, Frank Castle (Thomas Jane). But while his violent origins stayed consistent with those from the comics, the film itself, lacked a certain tenacity and viciousness that is heavily present in the series. Director Lexi Alexander tried her best to correct that issue in Punisher: Warzone, but while doing so, gave comic book fans a one-dimensional, almost boring Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) with a storyline that in no way connected to the previous film or allowed room for a sequel.
Stevenson delivered a fine performance as Frank Castle (considering the script he was given to work with), and we found Jigsaw’s outfit to be one of the Best Supervillain Movie Costumes to date. However, that just isn’t enough reason to watch this film again. Instead, fans should cross their fingers that Thomas Jane will once again don the iconic skull t-shirt for a quasi-reboot, or at the very least his own TV show. In the meantime, enjoy Adi Shankar’s Punisher short film, Dirty Laundry.
Before she was a prepubescent thief on Gotham or killing Bane with the Batpod in The Dark Knight Rises (we still can’t believe that happened) – and after she was a leather-clad foil for Batman in Batman Returns – Catwoman found herself (for some unknown reason) in the middle of her own solo movie.
Besides seeing Halle Berry dressed as a Catwoman stripper, there’s very little reason to watch this film beyond one viewing. The storyline had little to do with the character from the comics, the action was over-the-top ridiculous and the acting was so bad the film managed to scoop up four Razzies in 2004. Watch it once just to tell your friends you managed to make it all the way through, but then forget this terrible movie even exists.
After watching Warner Bros try (and fail) to successfully bring a female superhero to life with Catwoman, Fox decided they could do better by using one of the coolest female characters in Marvel’s line up, Elektra. Elektra wasn’t the character’s first appearance in the Marvel cinematic universe. She initially appeared as blind lawyer Matt Murdock’s girlfriend in Daredevil, and it was a decent (though water-downed) adaptation of the character. However, the solo film was essentially a complete bastardization of the fan-favorite female assassin.
Instead of a scantily-clad, bad-ass martial arts expert assassin with a rich backstory, audiences were given a midriff-baring, obsessive compulsive, astral-projecting (not even making that part up), part-time assassin on the run from ninjas – while trying to be a surrogate mother to a white teenage girl who just happens to be a martial arts prodigy… whew. The film was a complete disaster and would ultimately become one of the lowest earning movies in Marvel history, just above Howard the Duck. Watch this film once if you absolutely have to see Jennifer Garner in red leather while stabbing people with silver sais, but there’s no need to ever see it again.
Making his masked debut in 1940, Denny Dolt (a.k.a.The Spirit) would be a staple comic strip in Sunday morning newspapers for over 10 years. Creator Will Eisner would continue to tell stories about the vigilante between 1960 and 1980. The character remained somewhat dormant in the comic world until it experienced a revival of sorts in the late-1990’s and early-2000’s when DC Comics began publishing new Spirit stories by different writers. Even with a (small) resurgence in popularity, it’s puzzling why DC Comics and Lionsgate thought letting comic legend Frank Miller trun a half-century old/half-forgotten comic strip into a feature-length movie was a prudent move.
The tone of the film was too campy (even by camp-enthusiast standards) and while the set pieces and art design were interesting, The Spirit was just too over-the-top to be taken seriously. The film loses additional points for showing The Octopus’ face on-screen (a scene-chewing performance by Samuel L. Jackson), when all that’s ever shown in the comics are his gloved hands. Even though there are some other fairly big names and OK performances attached to the film – Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Gabriel Macht – they simply aren’t enough reason to watch this film more than once. Plaster of Paris’ supervillain costume did manage to make it onto our 25 Best Supervillain Movie Costumes list, though.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Though there have been many incarnations of Superman – read: 16 Actors Who Have Portrayed Superman and Before They Were Movies: Early Attempts to Bring Superheroes to Life Onscreen – the version audiences most often associate with the superhero is Christopher Reeve from Supes’ first feature-length film in 1978. His classic and iconic version of Superman would reign for almost 10 years….until Superman IV: The Quest for Peace tragically happened.
The story for Superman IV was nothing short of absurd: Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) steals a strand of Superman’s hair, ties it to a rocket, and shoots it into the sun creating a nemesis for Superman named Nuclear Man. The film essentially killed the franchise for nearly 20 years until Superman Returns tried (feebly) to revive the character on the big screen. Like a modern-day Syfy original film, the ham-fisted acting and laughably-poor graphics (even by 80’s standards) in the movie are best enjoyed with a hefty side of snark – think Mystery Science Theater 3000. Worst yet, it was Reeve himself who pushed to get the film made, even helping to craft the… *ahem* “story.”
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